FAQ's- Business Practices

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Business Practices
My approach is comprehensive in nature. I have in-depth conversations with clients about what is important to them, goals, objectives, hopes, dreams, their background and why they feel the way they do about various issues. I believe that important details can be lost if the right questions are not asked which can have a significant impact on understanding my clients.

I start with the basics such as cash flow and debt reduction, then move to insurance protection, and then to wealth building and estate planning. My approach is based upon a "Divide and Concur" philosophy. This means that we work together over time to develop and implement components of your financial plan, or in other words I will be your financial coach. Life can change rapidly which is why I believe that developing a financial plan is not a one time event; rather it is an ongoing process and thus needs to remain flexible. Financial coaching increases the likelihood that you get and stay on track, tasks are in fact completed in a reasonable time, and also makes the process more affordable.
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How many clients do you work with?
I have approximately 80 clients (as of 9/2013). I only work with those who are serious about personal financial success and have the motivation to achieve their goals. 
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What type of clients do you work with?
Most of my clients fall into one of two categories. The majority of my clients are planning for retirement while a portion of my clients are looking for a financial coach to help them get started on their financial journey. Most importantly I work with clients who value professional advice and are seeking a long-term relationship with a trusted advisor.
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How often will you update my plan?
A financial plan is not a onetime event rather it is an ongoing process. Generally, components of the plan such as a retirement analysis should be reviewed at least once per year to ensure you remain on track unless something material and/or significant changes in your life or the external environment to warrant an extra review.
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Will I work with you directly or do you have a team? If a team, please complete Background questions for each advisor.
You will work directly with me.
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Do you provide a written client engagement agreement? If no, why not?
Yes. Written agreements are reviewed and signed by both parties before any services are rendered.
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Do you acknowledge you are a fiduciary when you provide financial services?
Yes.  
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Will you sign the NAPFA Fiduciary Oath? If no, please explain. 
Yes. I clearly acknowledge my fiduciary status and will provide a signed copy of the Fiduciary Oath upon request.
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Do you have a business continuity plan? If no, please explain.
Yes. I maintain a secure continuous backup of all files through an SEC compliant off-site backup company, which uses the highest level of encryption available today. In the event of a fire or computer failure, I have the ability to be operational with any computer and Internet connection wherever I am located.
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Describe your process for meeting with clients, from the initial conversation onward.
A brief phone call will determine if there is a reasonable basis to schedule a discovery consultation. If so, such consultation will be scheduled either in person or during an "eMeeting" may be scheduled if distance is a concern. During the discovery consultation, we go over the "Financial Life Checkup" together. This meeting will help to determine what your needs are, how we should work together, and the fee for that work. If a good fit is determined, a follow up meeting will be scheduled to review applicable agreements, discuss expectations, and schedule first data gathering meeting.
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Do you offer multiple approaches to asset allocation?
Yes. I have the capability through an open-architecture investment advisory program to employ four distinct asset allocation approaches which are: strategic, tactical constrained, tactical unconstrained, and absolute return. Implementation may consist of utilizing actively managed mutual funds, passive index funds, and/or ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) depending upon your goals, objectives, and comfort level. 

Various strategies can be customized to include global, domestic, tax-managed, hedged, sector rotation, socially responsible investing, and privately managed strategies. Many advisors only employ one strategy, strategic allocation being the most common. I have developed the capability through alliances with some of the nation's premier institutional investment consulting firms in order to provide the strategy that is best suited to each client rather than only offering one strategy to all clients.
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What types of investment vehicles do you offer to clients?
As an independent financial advisor, I have complete freedom and flexibility to utilize the full range of available investment vehicles that suit each particular client's circumstances. This may include IRAs (Individual Retirement Account), 401K, actively managed funds, no-load mutual funds, ETF (exchange traded funds), Index funds, no-load Annuities, etc.
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What do most of your clients invest in? Do you tend to favor one type of investment vehicle over another, and why/why not?
Each client is different and therefore has different needs. I do not favor any particular investment or investment vehicle over another. I maintain the flexibility and impartiality to recommend what is best for my clients on a case-by-case basis.
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What resources or publications do you use to keep up-to-date with changing IRA distribution rules?
As an Ed Slott trained Master Elite IRA Advisor, I stay up to date with any tax law changes as soon as they happen via email, teleconferences, and web casts. I attend two workshops per year with this group and I subscribe to Ed Slott's IRA Advisor Monthly Newsletter. I have exclusive access to the Complete IRA Care Solution™ and a private Master Elite IRA Advisor forum where I can share ideas and learn from other Elite IRA Advisors about changing rules and strategies. Also I utilize the PMC IRA Reference Guide which is updated multiple times per year as the rules change.
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How do you keep track of IRA Beneficiary forms for clients?
I keep electronic copies of all types of beneficiary forms including retirement account, transfer on death account, Insurance policies, etc. for each client's file as well as being stored off-site in a secure backup.
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Can you show me the IRA life expectancy tables you use to calculate required IRA distributions for both IRA owners and beneficiaries?
I keep the life expectancy tables within arm's reach at my desk.
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Who do you call when you have technical questions about IRA issues?
As a member of Ed Slott's Master Elite IRA Advisor Group, I have access to several of industry's best IRA Technical experts that I can call or email whenever I have a question.
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